Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Developing Nations'


The Broadening Scope of Human Rights

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America

hands by Michel de Nijs, 2006The University of Washington's Center for Human Rights recently hosted its annual celebration marking Amnesty International's (AI) 50th anniversary, and recognizing around two dozen organizations including the Krista Foundation. AI believes combating human rights abuses and nurturing a world where justice is rooted in the sustained efforts of ordinary citizens, from letter writing campaigns to advocating at the policy level.

The keynote speaker was AI's Director, Larry Cox, who began by highlighting the power of civil society. In December, when Larry met with top national leaders in DC, he was told that regime change in Egypt in its current state was ‘impossible.' Culturally appropriate behind the scenes pressure was not working and civil society was too weak. Yet two months later, the efforts of Egyptians, (and the sustained efforts of human rights advocates) made radical revolution possible. Larry shared this story as an inspiration and reminder that we all play a role in bringing about change and advocating for the basic needs of our local or global neighbors. Our success in overcoming the most entrenched challenges our globe faces does not rest solely on the leader, but rather on each and every person involved.

The Human Rights Symposium also showcased work closer to home. The panel that followed Larry Cox included: Pramila Jayapal, founder and E.D. of OneAmerica, James Bible, President of the NAACP-Seattle/King County, and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, an author/artist/activist who is the outgoing E.D. of the Social Justice Fund. These speakers addressed a wide variety of issues, from the institutional discrimination and profiling in the US of people of Middle Eastern descent following 9/11, to incarceration rates and the industry of prisons in the US (the country with the most people per capita locked up). They agreed that there is much work to be done within our national borders.

Amnesty International has been working to broaden the view of what qualifies as human rights, sharing that systemic oppression takes place in social, economic, and cultural areas. Human rights are often associated with high profile international abuses, political prisoners or torture cases in foreign nations. However, Larry advocates that basic human rights abuses occur within the US and abroad in areas such as the right to free and fair elections, employment, legal representation. There is often an unjust distribution of and access to wealth, power and legal rights which perpetuates poverty and disproportionately impacts marginalized segments of a population.

At the Krista Foundation, we hear many Colleagues who would resonate with this broader definition of human rights. Whether working in urban education, in law, or with people caught in human trafficking, whether at home or abroad, whether during formal service or service as a way of life—Colleagues are advocates for human rights alongside the people they serve and learn from. As they integrate service as way of life, Colleagues become engaged civic leaders in local communities and at all levels/sectors of society.


Excitement Builds for 2011 Conference & Guest Day

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Post-Service Term Reflections, Preparing To Serve

windswept tree by 06 Colleague Megan HurleyExcitement is building for the KF's Annual Memorial Weekend Conference! This conference brings together Krista Colleagues, spouses, and invited guests.

Guest Day (Sunday) is open to the public who want to celebrate or learn more about our mentoring community-including mentors, parents, and other friends of the Foundation. Register if you'd like to come!


A Beautiful Struggle: Recognizing Hope, Embracing Tension, Living Grace

Troubles produce endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. -Romans 5:3

Keynote Speaker: Ron Ruthruff has worked for the past 26 years with homeless and street-involved youth and families as Director of Ministry and Program Development for New Horizons Ministries. He and his wife, Linda recently opened a nonprofit Seattle café that provides job training and employment for young adults working to exit street life. Ron serves as adjunct faculty at Bakke Graduate School and guest lectures at a variety of seminaries and colleges.

Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th - 30th 2011
(Lodge open on Friday evening, the 27th)
Clearwater Lodge, outside of Spokane, Washington
Krista Colleagues, spouses and children are welcome!

GUEST DAY is Sunday, May 29th. Come for Brunch, the Keynote & Krista Colleague Commissioning. Guests are welcome to sit in on afternoon workshops and share a festive dinner.

A special 10th anniversary welcome back to our Krista Colleague Class of 2001!

Come and reconnect with old friends, make new friends, be encouraged and encourage others as we continue to learn what it means to be a "Global Citizen"!

To register click


Kirk Harris pursues Political Science Ph.D.

Destiny Williams | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Peace & Reconciliation, Transitions Home & Beyond


In a small office on the campus of Indiana University, Kirk Harris stares out a small window. This is where he spends most of his time these days. He finds his life, starting a Ph.D. in Political Science, feels quiet--a "night and day" difference from the sounds and smells of the past five years. In 2006 Kirk sat at a table surrounded by the passionate voices of tribal and community leaders who shared stories of hardship and betrayal amidst a violent ethnic and religious conflict. Despite deep differences, they were gathered on common ground, to nurture peace and rebuild their countries. Kirk, a Krista Colleague who served in Kenya as a Young Adult Volunteer with the Presbyterian Church, served with an organization that facilitated Muslim-Christian dialogue between these competing ethnic and religious groups. He remembers and cherishes the friendship and solidarity of "being welcomed by people who are very different from me, of being drawn outside of myself in pursuit of a common calling."

At that time, he wrote to the KF: "By participating in these discussions I am now able to analyze violence and peace more comprehensively, taking into account country-specific obstacles to the resolution of conflicts as well as cultural and theological nuances that affect how they unfold." But the depth of complexity left him longing for an even deeper understanding.

To hone his thinking, Kirk wrote an article on reconciliation in The Global Citizen journal. He seized an opportunity at the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Liaison Office in New York, focusing on Congo and Sudan. After two years, Kirk moved to Khartoum to work for the Sudan Council of Churches in on behalf of MCC. In each position, Kirk was humbled by the issues the communities were facing. In his search of a better framework, Kirk applied to a Ph.D. program.

Graduate school has brought new opportunities and challenges for Kirk, whose goal is to reinvest his degree in service of the people he served in Africa. "I am continually reminded of what I was doing a year ago-working with Sudanese churches who are trying to heal their country in the wake of conflict and stave off new violence." As he seeks to integrate his experiences, cultivate community, and steward his education, Kirk has come to see that "balancing the tension of the mind and heart will take time, and that God's grace, which has sustained me through service, will also sustain me in learning." He reminds himself: "Only 5 and ¼ years to go."

Know someone who has wrestled with the culture shock of transitioning from service to grad school? Share comments or encouragements below.


Nominate a New Krista Colleague!

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Faith/Theological Exploration, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Preparing To Serve

Conference Dialogue: Teresa, Tami, NathanThe Krista Colleague Cohort Program is the heart of the Foundation. Nominated by professors, pastors, and other community leaders, 15 "Krista Colleagues" are selected each year. These young adults are committed to a sustained period of voluntary or vocational service of at least 9 months and motivated to serve by their Christian faith.

Often applicants are college seniors applying to do service after graduation with a variety of service organizations. After formal service and debriefing, Colleagues take an active role in mentoring newer Colleagues.

Older Colleagues consistently express appreciation for the formal trainings and conferences to prepare for and integrate service, but also for the friendships they form with Colleagues and older mentors through the Foundation network.

Acceptance as a Colleague includes a $1,000 Service & Leadership Grant to be used at the intersection of vocational interests and commitment to serve.

Nominations are due by March 20th, so nominate today!

Click here for nomination criteria or nomination forms!

Questions? Please contact Program Director, Stacy Kitahata

Please LIKE, POST, and SHARE this link with any potential nominators.

-The Krista Foundation



The Krista Foundation | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Community, Education, Global Citizenship, Intercultural Development

serve well blogNo. Seriously. Greetings!

Have you noticed the world is full of thousands of spoken and unspoken ways to meet, greet, or just acknowledge someone?
In intercultural service assignments, whether in U.S. neighborhoods or international settings, we adapt to local ways of meeting somebody, entering a room, or just passing a stranger.

Watch this video prepared by 09 Colleague Brandon Adams, and be sure to post your short paragraph response below:


Here's some quick food for thought from Sean Rawson, a volunteer with Jesuit Volunteers International:

"Nicaraguans almost always greet everyone in a room upon entering, either individually or collectively as a group. This usually means a handshake or a cheek kiss for old friends or new acquaintances alike. Even if somebody enters a conversation or a meeting, he or she generally interjects at least a "Buenas tardes" to those present. To my North American-educated mind, this initially came off as extremely rude; I'd be having a conversation or even presenting some point in a workshop, and someone would walk in late with a public "Buenas!" distracting me and the rest of the group from whatever was being discussed. As time went on during my first few months here, I began to realize that this wasn't just a group of inconsiderate youth, but in fact a great example of the beauty of cultural diversity.

Anyhow, I've been working on learning from my Nicaraguan co-workers, friends and acquaintances to recognize that human relationships are worth taking a few seconds out of a busy schedule to make someone feel recognized."

How about you? Share a custom or a story about the greetings you've learned or observed in service.

(Comments may not post immediately, as they'll go through a moderator to prevent spam.)




Global Citizenship: U.S. Halts Visas for Some Int'l Adoptions

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Poverty: Urban US & International

serve well blogWhether on a short-term immersion, or long-term service experience, many of us have held children in an orphanage. It is hard not to be moved to try to help improve their lives in some way. Discerning a call to global citizenship, some have gone on to work in international adoption or have chosen to become parents who adopt internationally.

The Seattle Times recently featured the story of Jenni Lund, the now-legal mother of two-year-old Pukar. They wait in Nepal alongside other parents and children, as US visa regulations won't allow her to bring Pukar to her home to central Washington without clear proof that he had been abandoned. Such documentation is virtually non-existent there. Meanwhile proof exists that some orphanage directors, who benefit from getting children adopted, have threatened local parents to forfeit their children.

Stopping visas puts pressure on Nepal to improve documentation in hopes of reducing the influence of child trafficking. In the meantime, children remain in orphanages, and the prospective parents, many of whom are deeply invested (financially and emotionally), are left with dim prospects. 

Read Nancy Bartley's Nov. 1 article Nepali adoptions investigated; U.S. parents agonize.

Do you have a connection or experience related to orphanages or international adoption? Please share your thoughts and comments below...

serve well blog


A Different Kind of Intercultural Dialogue

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Community, Intercultural Development, Community, Peace & Reconciliation

Teresa Rake - Krista ColleagueTeresa Rake ('05) has developed a lifetime of insight on the beauty and tensions of intercultural communication as the biracial daughter of a Bolivian mother and Caucasian American father. After graduating from Biola University, she moved into an intentional community in Seattle's richly diverse White Center neighborhood and discovered a church dedicated to serving the neighborhood. Then she volunteered for a year in Brazil through the Mennonite Central Committee, training families to address urgent needs related to water resources. Now back in Seattle, she continues her relationships in White Center as an elder in the local church and invests in the lives of their high school youth group.

In White Center, Teresa noticed that the kids, having grown up among varied minority and immigrant communities, engaged in honest conversatoins about race and shared experiences without usually offending each other. In contrast, she recently worked for an organization in a less diverse part of town and found that, despite the best of intentions, there were clear, awkward communication gaps resulting in stereotypes and misperceptions of the population that the organization desired to serve. She wondered: "How do we create space to talk about race and acknowledge our privilege without getting defensive?" Amid her growing desire to understand these gaps, Teresa participated in a Krista Foundation sponsored facilitator training for an intercultural communication tool called Photo Language, which helps participants both listen to others and share about their own experience of tender subjects such as race and privilege.

Read more about Teresa on her bio page.